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February 2008

The Truth About “The Superbug,” Community-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus.What the Practicing Clinician Needs to Know

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008;162(2):183-184. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2007.56

During the last several months, there has been growing irrational anxiety over “potentially deadly” community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infections, fueled by the untimely death of a high school football player. This has resulted in widespread closures for decontamination and disinfection of multiple schools in which members of the student body or staff were found to be infected or possibly infected with the organism. The absurdity of this frenzy culminated in a report that a store full of designer apparel was closed and disinfected and all the merchandise was destroyed to prevent spread of the organism after a worker was discovered to have a skin infection thought to be caused by CA-MRSA. To add to the chaos, multiple headlines across the nation have cited an article recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine,1 which reports that annually there are 90 000 severe health care–related infections and almost 19 000 deaths due to this organism.